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BACKGROUND: Antibodies to aquaporin-4 (AQP4-Ab) are found in 60-80% of patients with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), a severely disabling inflammatory CNS disorder of putative autoimmune aetiology, which predominantly affects the optic nerves and spinal cord. OBJECTIVE: To assess the frequency of AQP4-Ab in patients with optic neuritis (ON), and to investigate the prognostic implications of AQP4-Ab seropositivity in such patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: AQP4-Ab serum levels were determined in 224 individuals from Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, and Turkey using a newly developed fluorescence immunoprecipitation assay employing recombinant human AQP4. RESULTS: AQP4-Ab were detectable in 8/139 (5.8%) patients with acute monosymptomatic optic neuritis (AMON) and in 10/17 (58.8%) patients with established NMO and a last relapse of acute ON (NMO/ON), but not in 32 patients with multiple sclerosis or in 36 healthy controls. At last examination, 4/8 (50%) seropositive AMON patients had met the criteria for NMO but 0/128 seronegative AMON patients. Disease severity differed significantly between seropositive and seronegative AMON. Complete bilateral or unilateral blindness occurred in six AQP4-Ab positive patients, but only in one AQP4-Ab negative patient. AQP4-Ab levels did not vary between seropositive AMON and NMO/ON and did not correlate with disease severity. Female gender, a relapsing course, and concomitant autoimmunity were associated with AQP4-Ab seropositive status and risk of developing NMO. CONCLUSION: AQP4-Ab is relatively rare among patients with AMON, but if present it predicts a high rate of conversion to NMO within one year.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.jns.2010.07.011

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Neurol Sci

Publication Date

15/11/2010

Volume

298

Pages

158 - 162

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Antibodies, Aquaporin 4, Disease Progression, Female, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Humans, Immunoprecipitation, Male, Middle Aged, Neuromyelitis Optica, Optic Neuritis, Prognosis, Recurrence, Sex Factors, Treatment Outcome, Young Adult